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John R. Parker

Righteous Fury: Celebrating Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s ‘Transmetropolitan’

Transfeature

Imagine, if you a can, a world where charismatic leaders and would-be messiahs take advantage of people's basic need for hope, and soulless corporations run by greedy little monsters squeeze every last dime out of their consumers even if they end up killing them, and elected officials care more about whatever they stoop down and squat out than the people who need their help.

If such a scenario is too hard to imagine, then you're just not paying attention, and you need a crash-course in the realities of human sewage and the power of truth. Begin with Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan, which got its start on July 9, 1997.

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The Enduring Influence Of ‘Watchmen’

watchmen_1 cover

Stories set in an alternate history or reality are built from a "point of divergence," a moment at which the fictional reality veers off from our own. Germany wins World War II, Kennedy survives the assassination attempt, etc. In Watchmen that point comes in 1938. Shortly after the publication of Action Comics #1, costumed heroes begin appearing in the real world, the "factual black and white of the headlines," as Hollis Mason puts it, and history changes course.

In our reality, comics books experienced their own point of divergence on June 5, 1986, with the debut of the first issue of Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. Ever since then, the entire medium has been permanently altered by its startling vision and precise execution.

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Master of the Multiverse And Legend Of The Justice Society: A Tribute To Gardner Fox

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Gardner Fox is one of the most prolific and eminent comic book writers in the medium's history. Born May 20, 1911, Fox had a career that spanned five decades. It's estimated that Fox wrote around 4,000 comic stories for National, All-American, Timely, Columbia, Marvel, and EC, and scores of prose stories and novels. But he's best-remembered as the man who gave the DC Universe its soul

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Beginning At Aardvark: The Extraordinary And Controversial Career of Dave Sim

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No other comic artist's legacy is as tough to nail down as that of Dave Sim, born on this day in 1956. As the creator of Cerebus, Sim is one of the medium's biggest champions for creators' rights, a patron saint of self-publishing, a contender for the title of greatest living cartoonist, and a visionary who achieved something that seemed both both crazy and impossible.

Simultaneously, he's a lightning rod for controversy, the holder of a litany of contentious opinions that he's made one with his work, and he's often dismissed as a kook at best, disgusting at worst. Yet no matter what one thinks of Sim as a human being, there's no denying the white-hot sequential brilliance that emanates from one of comics' most controversial creators.

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The Dynamics Of Fear: Celebrating The Infamous Johnny Craig

Johnny Craig Crime SuspenStories _22 cover!!!

Even among a roster of talents that includes several industry legends, Johnny Craig's work with EC Comics stands out. An artist who usually wrote his own stories, he produced clean and lively pages that brought his shocking, poetic yarns to life, and as the premier cover artist for the publisher, Craig's jolting imagery for Vault Of Horror, Tales From The Crypt and Crime SuspenStories frequently provided a fitting introduction to the taut, disturbing tales that laid in wait inside.

Unfortunately, it was his brilliance on those covers that led to his widespread vilification. Born April 25, 1926, today we take a moment to appreciate the work of the late, great Johnny Craig.

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Today In Comics History: Bill Gaines Fights The Good Fight

Illustration: Tony Shasteen
Illustration: Tony Shasteen

On April 21 1954, William M. "Bill" Gaines, publisher of Entertaining Comics, spoke at the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to defend his comic books against accusations of indecency and the perversion of minors. Some say as a direct result of his testimony, comic books were irreparably damaged. But no matter the result, Bill Gaines should be applauded simply for being willing to stand up and be counted.

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The Many Faces Of Batman: A Celebration of the Dark Knight

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Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27, which collectors believe first appeared on newsstands on this day in 1939. Since his debut, Batman has undergone many drastic changes, but somehow our collective perception remains pure.

The origins of Batman are complicated. After the massive success of Superman, comic book publishers were hungry for more costumed adventurers, and National Publications (which would become DC) commissioned a superhero from Bob Kane, who had previously been at Fleischer Studios. He made a proposal for a winged, red-suited avenger with blonde hair and a domino mask called Bird-Man. He enlisted the aid of Bill Finger, a writer he had befriended at a cocktail party, and Finger smartly urged Kane in a different, far better direction.

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Filed Under: Category: Anniversaries, DC

The Evolution of Daniel Clowes

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Born April 14 1961, Daniel Clowes is one of the most respected and influential cartoonists of the modern era, and there's probably nobody who hates that fact more than Dan Clowes. Known primarily for his long-running alt-comic Eightball, the Chicago-born artist has been praised and awarded regularly since the late 1980s, which is especially impressive considering that he didn't reach his full creative potential until much, much later.

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Running the Gauntlet in Mark Beyer’s Cruelly Funny ‘Agony’ [Review]

Mark Beyer
Mark Beyer

Originally published by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's RAW Books, and featuring characters that appeared in several issues of RAW magazine, Mark Beyer's Agony is a highlight of the 80s art comics movement, spearheaded by that landmark publication. Now available in a new edition as the first release of the New York Review Comics line, the abstract, absurd, and bleakly funny comic book returns, and it's just as oddly beautiful and relevant as ever.

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Honoring Will Eisner, The Original Dreamer

Will Eisner
Will Eisner

The American comic book would not be what it is today without Will Eisner. A relentless innovator who initiated vital changes at crucial points in the medium's history and left behind a lifetime of literary art, Eisner has directly or indirectly influenced everyone who followed him. Born March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn New York, Will Eisner changed the world of sequential art, and it's only appropriate that we celebrate his comics, his accomplishments, and his spirit.

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